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The Kalam Cosmological Argument

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The Kalam Cosmological Argument is definitely a sound argument for the existence of God. Formulated by al-Ghazali during the medieval period and defended today by philosopher William Lane Craig, the kalam argument is an interesting argument compared to other cosmological arguments that came before it. The kalam argument is different from other cosmological arguments because it seeks to find a cause to a contingent universe in a temporal sense. The argument is formulated as follows:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Notice premise (1). It is not saying that everything has a cause but rather whatever begins to exist. This premise seems true and would be absurd to deny. One objection to this premise is that quantum physics has supposedly proved that things can begin to exist without causes. “On the subatomic level events are said to be uncaused” (469). These uncaused particles are only demonstrated to be uncaused in a vacuum. But is a vacuum actually nothing, meaning, non-being? Of course not; this is a misunderstanding of what a vacuum really is — “a sea of fluctuating energy endowed with a rich structure and subject to physical laws” (469). To deny this premise is to resort to something worse than magic.

Premise (2) has much support both deductively and inductively but also has many objections. We will be looking at both here. The most common objection is to deny that the universe began to exist and state that it has existed forever. But is an actual infinite in a temporal universe even possible? An actual infinite means “any collection having at a time t a number of definite and discrete members that is greater than any natural number” (470). Let us observe the thought experiment known as Hilbert’s Hotel. Let’s suppose we have a hotel with an infinite amount of rooms. And let’s also suppose every single room is filled with a person and thus the hotel has no vacancies. But what would happen if someone tried to get in? Well, since the hotel has literally an infinite amount of rooms then every person would just get shifted over one room and the person that was trying to get in would now have a room. But how is this even remotely possible — all the rooms were completely filled! This hotel is absolutely absurd and yet is an accurate portrayal of an actual infinite (471).

A second example deals with infinite temporal events. If there are an infinite amount of temporal events in the past then how would any event occur? How would one reach the present time if there are literally an infinite amount of events in-between any given event? This is completely impossible. It is impossible to traverse over an infinite amount of temporal events (474).

The third argument used to defeat the notion of an actual infinite is inductive. “In 1917, Albert Einstein made a cosmological application to his newly discovered gravitational theory, the general theory of relativity” (476). This theory shows that the universe is constantly expanding from a singularity. If we were to go back in time, we would reach a point of a singularity that contains the whole of all matter within it. “There can be no natural, physical cause of the big bang event, since, in Quentin Smith’s words, ‘it belongs analytically to the concept of the cosmological singularity that it is not the effect of prior physical events. The definition of a singularity… entails that it is impossible to extend the spacetime manifold beyond the singularity… This rules out the idea that the singularity is an effect of some prior natural process’” (477). This theory of general relativity seems to deal a great blow to the person who believes that the universe has always existed or that the universe was created out of a collapsing universe prior to the big bang. But nothing existed before the big bang. This creates a problem for the atheist because out of nothing, nothing comes.

We can now sum up our argument against an actual infinite like this:
1. An actual infinite cannot exist.
2. An infinite temporal regress of physical events is an actual infinite.
3. Therefore an infinite temporal regress of physical events cannot exist.

From the original argument if both (1) and (2) are valid then it follows inescapably that (3) is true. This cause must transcend space and time in order to create the universe. It would also have to be immaterial because matter exists in spacetime. “The personhood of the cause of the universe is implied by its timelessness and immateriality, since the only entities we know of that can posses such properties are either minds or abstract objects, and abstract objects do not stand in causal relations. Therefore, the transcendent cause of the origin of the universe must be the order of mind” (480). This cause is God.

Works Cited

Moreland, James Porter, and William Lane. Craig. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity, 2004. Print.

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3 Comments

  1. TheistsAreDeluded says:

    You’re so deluded. Give me a break. Kalam is easily refuted, and any honest person would acknowledge this. Unless you can prove that this ”cause” (if there was one….no seriously, prove that the universe isn’t eternal in some form) must be a sentient, intelligent being, all you’re doing is an exercise in ignorance.

    • Jesse Roach says:

      Nah, I don’t censor people, especially atheists, from speaking. If my belief is true then it should hold up to all scrutiny. Firstly, you seem to be committing the fallacy known as poisoning the well and ad hominem in the first part of your statement. Secondly, I’ve already proved the universe is not (and cannot, as even atheist Quentin Smith affirms) eternal. Steven Hawking has even affirmed that the majority of scientists agree that there is a beginning to the universe. If the Kalam argument was so easily refuted then why did you not just post your objections or refutations instead of complaining and whining? And, why has Christopher Hitchens called William Lane Craig (biggest proponent of the KCA) an intellectual giant?

  2. jason c says:

    In on an airport right now so I can’t type much. I believe the problem here is semantic. To travel my perspective for a while, please open your ideas on the fundamental meanings of certain words and phrases. The basis of my disagreement stands on the idea that the true nature of the universe is as a-temporal as the singularity itself. The complexification of duality from a singular cannot be seen as the expansion of space entwined with material time but rather the conversion of material energy into spatial energy with the regression of this same phenomenon equalizing the energy dispersal in due “time”. While time as we know it can be regarded as the phenomological effect on the perception of change in atemporality for an ontological observer. Energy cannot be destroyed or created only transformmed, thus the energy present for the existence of the universe never began and your first premise on the casualty of the universe seems slightly void in my eyes. Premise 2 seems to center around the question, is an infinite in a temporal universe possible, well this question seems void in the belief of an atemporal universe, but I think it can be more fundamentally argued in the relm of semantics. Infinity is the absence of time thus it makes no sense to ask if no time can be achieved in time. To say an infinite number of events are happening between each event is to actually say that no time separates any event from another event, thus making the statement that there is only ” the event” and thats the existence of this a temporal universe. To say a hotel has an infinite number of rooms all filled, is to note on a sort of paradoxical finite aspect to infinity, there can be no new person or new door at the hotel of infinity, there’s no time for that to happen. Id also like to point out the idea, that the concept of nothing is ultimately misunderstood by most as to be no thing or the absence of particular things and this is somewhat true, but nothing can be more correctly understood as the indifferentiation between the difference aspects of everything. Everything is nothing in itself, while nothing is only the sum of all things. I like to say ” out of nothing, comes everything.” I was going to get into how atemporarily fits into Einstein theory of GR or more closely to the nature of reality but there are plenty of papers on that work. So I will talk about how atemporarily fits into how I experience reality subjectively and how I use the mental constructs of eternity , infinity or atemporality (all the same to me) to explain certain mystical or religious states of consciousness I have achieved in my life. See why try to disprove the infinite , eternal presence within the perspective of temporality, this is to me trying to disprove god within the confines of what we call “what is”. To except that there is no past but inside the mind, the future hasn’t happened and truly never will, eternity is now, and now is the only moment that will ever be… is to see that everything that is and isn’t eternal is actually eternally god. Remember outside of space and time the only thing a consciousness has time for is the realization of self. The realization that outside of space and time, everything is know because there’s no causality. The word substance is used today in the almost opposite way it originated. True substance was that which was sub of that which was stance. Meaning that the eternal fountain within which all things and time exist is the true wealth. Awaken and realize that outside of space and time there is an consciousness with no specific identity other than that which is sub of its own stance and that happens to be me and you and everything playing the game of separate things. You are that which there is none whicher, and someday your consciousness will realize that it is the center of everything. We are all one infinite consciousness perched outside of time as a god to the gods we are. Sry planes landing, gotta go . Much love

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